Tom Ortega II

Archive for the ‘silvafug’ Category

Finding Your Niche Via What Makes You Happy

In 360Conferences, 360Flex, eBay, Flash*Flex*AS, flex training, Programming, silvafug, Tech Writing, Workday on September 15, 2009 at 8:00 am

I’m amazed by people who have a singular passion. In addition, I’m in awe with those that have many passions, but the will power to focus on just one to the point of major success.  I fit in neither of those two categories.

My curse is I work hard to be just “good enough” in one passion, then move on to another.  By “good enough”, I mean good enough for me.  I’ll take a rare indulgence here (take a picture, it’ll last longer) and say that my “good enough” is better than some people’s “best”.  I take this odd (for me) stance for a good reason, and it’s not just to stroke my ego.

Mankind has a strange habit of staying with something that is comfortable, regardless of passion or happiness.  I know people (myself included) who stayed at a job because it was easy and comfortable, long after the passion and happiness were gone.  These people are giving their “best” but without passion or happiness.  Therefore, when I enter the same space with passion and happiness, I can attain more in a shorter time merely because the passion will help push me further. Read the rest of this entry »

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Leaving the Valley, Geeks and Workday for the Desert, Family and my Startup

In 360Conferences, 360Flex, Business, Community, eBay, flex training, Kids, Silicon Valley Living, silvafug, Uncategorized on January 9, 2009 at 10:58 am

Yup, you read that right.  It’s been a wonderful 3+ years in Silicon Valley, but it’s time to head to the desert of Queen Creek, Arizona.  I jump started my career here.  It’s funny to say that because I moved here when I was 30!  But these past 3 years did more for my professional life than my previous 12 years of working in Southern California.

There are two reasons I’m moving.  One is sappy and is detailed on this post over on my spiritual blog.

The other is related to my day-to-day activities.  In these tough economic times, I feel lucky and sad at the same time.  Some out there do not have a job or are stuck in a deadend job.  I, on the other hand, have two great opportunities in my life.

The first is my employer for the past year and a half, Workday.  Many people come to the Valley in search of that great startup to join.  Workday definitely fits the bill.  The people are incredibly talented and the work is some of the most challenging out there.  My team is one of the best I’ve ever worked for.  (If you want to join the Workday UI team, drop me a note and your resume/cv at tom.ortega@gmail.com) Read the rest of this entry »

Special CS4 meeting at Adobe’s HQ in San Jose

In AIR, Community, Premiere Pro, Silicon Valley Living, silvafug, Technology and Software on September 23, 2008 at 5:44 pm

I just wanted to do a quick post to mention that I’m hosting a very special CS4 meeting on Wednesday, September 24th.  The meeting will be at Adobe’s Headquarters in San Jose.

We’ll be talking about the new Creative Suite 4 that was just announced.  We’ll have representation from the Illustrator team there to talk about what’s new in CS4.  If we’re lucky, we may also get a rep to show us some of the crazy new features of the CS4 Production Suite.

More details can be found at the Silvafug site.  See you tomorrow!

Birthday Thoughts: Resource Utilization

In 360Conferences, 360Flex, Business, Community, Mac Pro, Playstation3, Programming, silvafug, Technology and Software, Workday on September 23, 2008 at 8:41 am

The phrase “Resource Utilization” has so many meanings in my life currently, that I have no idea where to start.

At Workday, I (relatively) recently got a new manager, Charlie Boyle.  One of his strengths is definitely resource utlization.  Every manager has their own style and no style is right or wrong.  However, Charlie has brought some great plans to the team.  He’s brought on some processes and tools that make our lives as developers more productive. I don’t think we as a team work any less harder, but we’re definitely working a lot smarter due to the resource management.

My Silicon Valley Flex User Group (silvafug) is sorting being revamped as I write this.  At our most recent meeting, several of us got together to discuss how to better the user group in a variety of ways.  After Wednesday’s meeting, we’ll likely be officially announcing the launch of Silvafug South (and by default, Silvafug North).  There are a lot of great people in the user group with great ideas on how to make it better for everyone.  I look forward to working with them. Read the rest of this entry »

Help me teach you Flex!

In 360Conferences, 360Flex, Business, Community, Flash*Flex*AS, flex training, Programming, silvafug, Technology and Software on July 28, 2008 at 11:14 am

John posed a question to me the other day: What’s important to you?  I’ll leave out the obvious answers: wife, two kids, and church.  He was asking more in relation to business and in particular, our business: 360|Conferences.  So I was noodling on an answer for him.

Saturday morning, I finally caught up on a thread on an internal Flex list.  The list was about a fairly common problem we have in the Flex world.  There seems to be a nefarious void that people learning Flex tend to fall into.  One where they’re beyond “This is a file.  This a tag, made up of brackets and text in between them.” and below “I just rewrote the AdvancedDataGrid component to run 50% faster.”  I have feelings in regards to how to help folks cross that void, so I started noodling a response to the thread.

Then it dawned on me, my two noodles were of the same type: helping folks grow and learn. Read the rest of this entry »

What kinda person is Tom Ortega?

In 360Conferences, 360Flex, Business, Creative Writing, Kids, Silicon Valley Living, silvafug, Technology and Software, Workday on May 7, 2008 at 9:12 pm

I was chatting with Brendan the other day. He asked what kind of person am I to attempt to carry a full time job, put on conferences on the side, manage a successful user group, write articles for the Edge and Adobe Development Center, be a good husband, be a good father of two, and be a good cub scout den leader.

This got me to thinking. Most people only know the Northern California Tom Ortega. Prior to my move to the Silicon Valley, my list of activities were quite different. In Southern California, my plate consisted of holding a full time job, being a good hubbie, being a dad of one and a whole lot of commuting. I didn’t blog, didn’t really participate in any tech community and flitted from one business idea to the next with none taking shape or form. Read the rest of this entry »

See you at FlexCamp and 360Flex!

In 360Flex, Community, flex training, Silicon Valley Living, silvafug, Workday on July 27, 2007 at 8:25 am

Sorry for my long absence, but it’s been a busy past month.

We made the move from San Jose to Walnut Creek. The reason for the move was in an earlier post. I’m an employee at Workday, Inc. It’s a truly great company, doing some amazing stuff. The move and conference have prevented me from going hog wild on the code, but I’m rectifying that now by having some alone time with the code and trying to work on my bugs. If you’re heavy into Flex and want to do some amazing things that will change the ERP space, talk with us.

When and where can you meet us? At Adobe’s Flex Camp tonight. Me and some members of the Dev team will be there. I’ll be the loud laughing Mexican sporting a Workday t-shirt. Stop and say hi to me and the team. We may even demo what we’re working on if you ask nicely. =)

The other thing eating my time like nobody’s business is 360Flex Seattle. It’s going down August 13-15. John and I have been hard at work on this. Having a central hotel and proper conference space is bit more involved than just giving random hotel links and booking an internal corporate meeting space. =) That said though, this one is going to blow away the first 360Flex conference. We’ll have some cool oversized postcards promoting 360Flex to give out at Flex Camp, so look for them! Hint: They’ll be next to the cool green 360Flex t-shirt!

I love meeting and interacting with members of the Flex community, new and old. If you’re a newbie, check out my free trainings at the Silvafug site. Stop and ask me about any roadblocks your facing while starting up. If you’re a guru, stop and chat too. I’m always interested in meeting those folks that are taking Flex to the next level.

See ya soon!

Community: What does it mean and how can I help?

In 360Flex, Community, Silicon Valley Living, silvafug, Technology and Software on June 28, 2007 at 7:05 am

I like communities, but do you? When you hear the word “Community”, what comes to mind? Do you participate in communities? If so, why? If not, why?

With Silvafug and 360Flex, I’ve come to realize that I like to serve the community. It makes me feel good that I can help you all learn some new tech skills while providing a place for you all to network. I think it’s equally important for us as people to develop socially as it is for us as developers to grow mentally.

I have an idea on what to build next, but I thought I’d get some feedback from you all first. Is there a void in the community space that you think needs filling? Is there something I can do to better serve you all? Just hit up the comments or email me personally at tom.ortega@gmail.com and I’ll try to answer as best I can.

Otherwise, stay tuned for more info on my next community adventure. I hope you’ll find it as exciting as I do.

Leaving eBay to start a new Workday

In 360Flex, Business, eBay, flex training, silvafug, Workday on June 12, 2007 at 7:02 am

It’s official. My last day as an eBay employee was Friday, June 8th. My first day as a Workday employee is Thursday, June 14th.

This is the first time I switched jobs for a strategic purpose vs. disliking the company. As a whole, the team I worked with at eBay was great. The North Campus where I sat most of my eBay life is beautiful. The work was fun and rewarding, especially during the “crunch” times.

I grew a lot during my tenure at eBay. Silvafug, free Flex training and 360|Flex were all hatched during that time. Heck, eBay even hosted the first 360|Flex conference!

If it was all so great, why leave?

One thing is size. I’ve been in corporate life for quite sometime now. I miss the days of knowing most, if not all, of a company’s employees. Knowing a team of 20 at eBay was nice, but was a drop in the bucket in number of total employees. At Workday, knowing 20 would be roughly 1/5 or 1/6 of the company.

Another thing is the amount of customers I can impact. At eBay, my direct customers were the various internal users of my apps. Indirectly, one could say that all the eBay buyers and sellers were my customers too, but I never felt that vibe. At Workday, I’ll be joining the UI team and will directly serve Workday’s customer base. I can help make the lives of these people more simple, fun and efficient. As the numbers of customers grow at Workday, so will the number of people I help. After serving a few hundred customers directly with 360|Flex, I found that serving large numbers of customers directly is something I enjoy.

I’ll be moving out to Walnut Creek for my new job. It has a slower pace feel to it than San Jose does. It also has a ton of restaurants that I can’t wait to try!

Adios, eBay: It’s been a blast!

Hola, Workday: Let’s make amazing things happen!

360Flex – A Brief History

In 360Flex, Flash*Flex*AS, flex training, silvafug on December 6, 2006 at 10:29 pm

360Flex, our lil Flex conference, is open for registration. It’s hard to believe that less than 2 months ago, the idea for 360Flex wasn’t even there. One day while chatting with John Wilker I said, “You know, we need a Flex conference. MAX is good and all, but we need a conference dedicated just to Flex and nothing else.” John agreed and we decided to have a conference. Now, John will be the first to tell you that I tend to have Pie-in-the-Sky ideas and this sounded right up that alley. He probably thought I might bring it up once or twice afterwards, but it would more likely than not drop to the wayside.

Fast forward a couple weeks and I’m chatting with Ted Patrick. We’re just about to announce the whole Free Flex Training ditty. I tell Ted, “You know, we really need to take this to the next level.” Ted nods. “We need to have a full fledged Flex Conference.” Ted says he was thinking of the same thing. Ted and I are smart guys, relatively speaking. =) We realize that having two competing Flex Conferences would be pointless. Therefore, we decide to combine our efforts. I introduce Ted to John and the committee is born.

None of us had really done a conference before, so we just sort of asked people we know who do conferences for some pointers. I ask Doug and Dave of Mashup Camp fame for some pointers. Fate puts me next to Michael Smith of CFUnited fame at the MAX UGM dinner, so I pester him with some questions. I’m not sure who Ted and John talked to, but from there we had our base from which to jump.

October 17th 2006, we have our inaugural virtual meeting. December 6th 2006, the registration site goes live. March 5th 2007, the conference begins. I don’t know how fast most conferences go, but I think we’ve done pretty good for ourselves.

Luckily, I had Silvafug to bounce ideas off of. If you’re a UGM, don’t overlook the valuable resource that is your group. Throw things at them and see what sticks. They’ll let you know what’s good (free Flex Training, Flex Conferences) and what’s not (matching UG t-shirts to wear at MAX). I still think matching shirts woulda rocked! =)